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Stevens Impressed With Marcus Smart: 'He Brings It On Every Drill'

BOSTON (CBS) -- Brad Stevens is entering his second season as head coach of the Boston Celtics, and though training camp has just gotten underway, he has already been dealt a pretty big blow.

Stevens and the Celtics will be without Rajon Rondo for 6-8 weeks, and potentially the start of the regular season, after the point guard broke a finger in his left hand after a fall in the shower.

Some people are questioning Rondo's story, and even Stevens admits he was a little weary at first.

"I found out in the morning last Friday. Like everybody else you say, 'Did he really slip in the shower?' But he had already talked to our doctors, trainers and Danny [Ainge], and then met with Danny. It was obviously something that was a freak injury," Stevens said on his weekly call into 98.5 The Sports Hub's Gresh & Zolak on Friday. "I know all those people talked to him, and he explained how he broke his hand; it was not certainly likely, but no reason not to believe that's how it happened.

"It sounds unusual, but it's not like it can't happen," said Stevens. "He was frustrated, as we all are, because we want him out there and having great success out of the gate."

In Rondo's absence rookie Marcus Smart and newcomer Evan Turner are expected to handle most of the point guard duties in camp, and if necessary, to start the season.

While Smart may be just 20-years-old, Stevens has been impressed by his play and demeanor on the floor.

"He's aggressive, physical and competitive," Stevens said of the sixth overall pick in June's draft. "He brings it on every drill and every possession, and I think that's the best thing. He's growing and getting better; he's made some mistakes and more mistakes will come, but he has to learn from them. He'll continue to do that.

"I love his demeanor. I think he has a personality about him that he can lead a group," Stevens added. "Even at the age of 20, that shows itself."

Stevens doesn't have a set rotation at the moment, but he's looking forward to the competition that will bring out among the players vying for starting and reserve roles this camp.

"One of the great challenges this year, and it was a challenge last year, going into camp you don't know who is going to separate themselves. On some teams you have penciled in your starters and your next top three – that's not the case here," he explained. "The good part is there's lots of competition, but the tough part is there has to be some separation.

"I'm looking forward to seeing who continues to separate themselves."


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